#dosomethingyummy Writing Prompts - Week 1

During February I will be posting a series of writing prompts so welcome to the first in the series.  I would love bloggers from all corners of the internet to join in, get creative, be inspired to write whilst helping to promote CLIC Sargent and Yummy Mummy Week - 10th to 18th March 2012.  

Why am I doing this?  This time it's personal and you can read all about that here.  You can also download the official press release and images to use in your posts from that link.  I want you to get inspired to do something (small or massive) to help support the CLIC Sargent charity.

Gone With The Wind

GONE WITH THE WIND
The child darted around the corner as the lightening
struck. He started to run down a dark valley. All of a
sudden he tripped. When he got up all he saw was
a whirlwind. It started to move towards him. It lifted
him and he disappeared for good.

Jake O'Hara (aged 12)

My son's school submitted pupils' work for the Young Writers Mini Sagas competition and Jake's has been chosen to be included in their published anthology (which I won't be paying £15.99 for - I'll wait until it comes out on Kindle...).  They had to write on a theme that inspired them using 50 words or less.  

For Jake, it's a massive achievement.  For me, it's another Proud Parent Moment especially as he struggles with concentration and spelling at the best of times. 

I'll get him doing one of the 100 words challenges next.  Just like this has ended up as!

Every Day I'm Shuffling

These days I'm more of a Radio 2 girl with the occasional foray in to Radio 4 (twenty years ago I never ever thought I'd see the day where I admitted that but there you go) but I do listen to the Chris Moyles breakfast show on the way into work.  One day last week they played the Generic MP3 Player Shuffle Game and I thought, "That'll make a good blog post," but Seasider Clare got there first, didn't even think to tag me passed it on and I ended up getting tagged by Helen.

I've done something similar way back when my blog was a baby but I've changed my phone and my songs since then however the rules are similar.  Switch on your boom box, hit shuffle five times and post the songs up.  Here we go...







My first experience of foreign shores

It was 1983, I had just finished primary school, was looking forward to going to high school and we were setting off for a two-week holiday in the caravan, in France - Mum, Dad, my sister (aged 7) and myself.  It was the first time we had ever ventured away from the UK in the caravan so Mum and Dad booked us onto an organised 'rally' with the local branch of the Caravan Club, we prepared for long car journeys and swotted up on our Franglish.  As we were newbies to foreign travel we were paired up with seasoned caravanners on the same rally and we were all (30 families) to meet the night before the ferry crossing in a field somewhere just north of Weymouth.


Disaster #1
No-one told dad that it was advisable to disconnect the fridge from the car battery power during the ferry crossing.  After the crossing, we arranged to meet our paired couple on the dockside, we all piled into the car and... nothing.  No power to the car.  The fridge had drained the battery.  All the cars around us pulled off the ferry and we saw the door closing.  By this time, my sister and I were in tears as we thought we were staying on the ferry and going back to England.  We had no idea that there was an upper deck of cars.  Suffice to say, some jump leads were found, my Dad was suitably embarrassed, we got the car and caravan off the ferry and set off on our journey.

Our base for the two weeks was the grounds of a ch√Ęteau in the small town of Granville, Normandy (cue lots of very unfunny 'Open All Hours' jokes from Dad).  A lovely caravan site with a patisserie for traditional French breakfasts, an open air swimming pool, a park and plenty of space to arrange rally events such as 'theme nights', sports days and communal barbecues.  We settled into foreign caravanning fairly easily.

Disaster #2
A group day out to Baueux was arranged by the rally organisers.  We were to see the Tapestry, the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy and the Normandy Landing Beaches.  Mum was glad about this as it took the pressure off her really.  A coach had been ordered for everyone, admissions had been booked and pre-paid and we would have a leisurely day to look around a town steeped in history.

The coach arrived.  There appeared not to be enough seats until the driver (who spoke no English at all) demonstrated that the arm rests along the aisle of the coach flipped down and round to make an extra row of seats down the centre of the coach - this is where the children were expected to sit.  All the parents were astounded and the only member of the group who spoke fluent French tried to reason with the driver regarding safety (even back in 1983 this was considered unbelievably dangerous), attempted to arrange another coach (nothing was available) and we eventually piled onto the coach and set off.  No windows would open, no-one could walk down the aisle of the coach to pass drinks around, the coach driver got lost, the only French-speaking Brit on the coach once again got roped into helping with map reading and we eventually got to Bayeux six hours after setting off from the camp site (it should have been a 2 hr journey).

Because of the length of the return journey and the fact that the coach driver was only booked until a certain time, we were told that we had precisely two hours in Bayeux before we had to set back off again. We queued for an hour and fifteen minutes to get in to see the Tapestry and literally ran around the U-shaped display, stopping occasionally to look at a certain part of it.  It must have been the quickest viewing ever.  Dad had foregone the Tapestry and had walked over to the museum.  Again, no real time to stop and appreciate the history of everything that was there.  And then the heavens opened so we couldn't go down onto the beach.

Disaster #3 and #4 and #5
This being a caravan rally and with no-one having to drive home at the end of the night, many families made the most of generally fine evenings and sat in each other's awnings with the children playing happily together and the parents sampling the local vino.  I had no idea how the next few ideas materialised but, now that I am an adult, I can hazard a guess at alcohol being heavily involved...

#3 - The mums thought it would be hilarious to "entertain" us one night and created a 'punk band'.  Embarrassment aplenty for an 11-year old girl watching her mum pretend to play a guitar.
#4 - The dads thought it would be  hilarious to "entertain" us another night and had a volley ball match - dressed as bunny girls.  Cue mortification for an 11-year old girl who already had image issues.
#5 - The final night was a communal meal with the theme "Hawaiian Night".  Again, all the men dressed in grass skirts and coconut shell bras.  By this time I was starting to get worried.

We returned to English shores with no more adventures - I don't think I could have handled much more - and I chose not to tell many people about my first experience with France.  Until now.

Photo credit: Google Images

Getting Trolled

Having your own stalker or troll is a sure sign that you're considered "a celebrity, write interesting tweets or are special" (thanks, @polythenepram, I think).  And, naturally, that means you are popular enough to for someone to make the effort to think up tweets to try and bring you to your knees, sobbing and wailing.  Let me set the scene...

Clic Sargent's Yummy Mummy Week

Today ten children in the UK will hear the news they have cancer.  Shocked?  I'm not!  Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt (and other fund-raising goodies...).  When my daughter was being treated for Neuroblastoma in 1992 we were supported by the Malcolm Sargent organisation (now CLIC Sargent) in many ways, including provision of a washer and dryer to help with the increased amount of laundry, travel expenses to and from the hospital and we used the parent's facilities at the hospital funded by monies raised through various activities around the country.

I've been looking for a way to give back for twenty years and it's just been handed to me on a plate thanks to this blog.

CLIC Sargent want parents and bloggers with powerful voices to get involved with their Yummy Mummy week which is being held from 10th to 18th March 2012 and here's how you can join in:

  • Read the Yummy Mummy week press release and use the information on your blog
  • Talk about it in real life - at the school gate, at nursery, with friends, at your parent and toddler group, at your book club, whilst waiting to pick up the kids from their after-school activities, chatting at the supermarket checkout... the opportunities are endless.  Find ways of getting your community together to raise awareness and money.
  • Sign up to the Yummy Mummy website and hold your own fund-raising event.
  • Use the CLIC Sargent/Yummy Mummy images (hosted here - right click each image and save to your computer) for any of your blog posts (please include the link  http://www.yummymummy.org.uk/  too)
  • Do the social media shout out on your Twitter account using the #dosomethingyummy hashtag or share blog posts about it on Facebook
  • Join in with some writing prompts that will be posted here each Monday in February and then you can link-up here on the Thursday of the same week.  Full details will be posted on the blog starting 30th January. (EDIT:  All writing prompts will be posted below too)  

All these activities are to raise awareness in the run up to Yummy Mummy Week and to help you think up great ways to raise money during Yummy Mummy Week.  If you need further information them please email me (also @nickie72) or Nicola from Mum Panel (also @mumpanel) who is working with CLIC Sargent to help promote this campaign.  

In the meantime, I'd also love to hear any unique fund raising ideas you have or what you have done in the past.  Me?  I have organised a number of fund raising events including fun days, evening socials and sponsored walks.  Twenty miles from Blackpool Tower to Preston Docks doesn't sound like a long way but it was a massive achievement for me - and yes, I was much thinner back in those days (that's me on the far right)...




So, what do you think?  Are you with me?
Please share this post with your online network too.

Writing Prompts - Week 1
 Children
Link Up - Week 1

Writing Prompts - Week 2
Family
Link Up - Week 2 

Writing Prompts - Week 3 
Together
Link Up - Week 3

Writing Prompts - Week 4
Survival
Link Up - Week 4

Round Up
Infographic

More Camera Work

So, I'm still working with my new camera, getting used to some settings and trying out ideas that I've had in my head for a while.  It's really the wrong time of the year to be out and about and working full time makes unusual every-day shots limited but I snapped my first lunar image early one morning last week.  It's not great and a tripod has been recommended but I was testing the capabilities of the camera and if it can do this then I know that I can work to make it even better.

Cliques - A Survey

1.  ARE THERE CLIQUES IN THE WORLD OF PARENT BLOGGING?
a) Yes
b) No
c) I don't know

2.  DO ANY CLIQUES HAVE SPECIAL NAMES?
a) I know what they are called but if I told you, I'd have to kill you
b) There aren't any.  I told you that in the last question.
c) I don't know

3.  IF YOU ARE/WERE THE LEADER OF A CLIQUE WOULD YOU HAVE ME IN IT?
a) Yes
b) No
c) I don't know

4.  DO CLIQUES HAVE RULES, SECRET SIGNS AND TWITTER DIRECT MESSAGE ALERTS?
a) I can't tell you that... oops
b) no... oops
c)  I don't know

5.  DO YOU THINK I AM IN A CLIQUE
a) yes
b) no
c) I don't know


THE RESULTS

No Sex Please, We're British?

This is a featured post.
For more information please see my disclosure policy

Does sex really sell?  Should we break the taboo and talk about it more openly because we’re all adults after all.  Or do we still refuse to talk about sex because it’s ‘not the done thing’?

I watched the Ann Summers advert the other night and thought about how Jacqueline Gold has changed the way in which ‘sex for enjoyment’ has been marketed.  She has, in many ways, removed the stereotypical view of seedy, back-street shops (think: men in raincoats) and replaced it with an opportunity for women to take the lead and feel empowered by working for a successful brand.  She has given women the opportunity to run their own business by holding ‘specialist’ parties at home for their friends and opened over 140 shops smack bang (! Sorry, no pun intended) in the middle of our high streets selling sexy lingerie and other products (more here).

Ms Gold also hasn’t forgotten the way in which the internet has allowed for a boom in sales.  The Ann Summers website has been regenerated and you can buy all manner of sex toys online (do you see anything that tickles your fancy?) but it’s not about making something sordid and disreputable more acceptable, it is, as Ms Gold says, “Fearlessly Unleashing Sexual Confidence” (taken from Business Review online magazine :: pg 46) and finding an identity that is true to yourself.

So, what do you think?  Should there be more freedom to unleash our inner sex kitten or are you firmly in the “No Sex, please, we’re British” camp?

Make-Up Make Over

I know my make-up bag is a bit drastic and in need of a good clear-out so when Melaina told me that Nancy over at BRIDEface was powering up her "Make Up Bag Monday" series again, I sent her a photo of the contents of my make-up bag for her to have a nosy through.

She didn't recoil in horror (surprisingly) and she is spot on with her advice.  You can read the full Make-Up Bag Monday report over on her blog and see the product/colour board that she created for me.

Thanks Nancy!!
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No Joke!

I'm the first one to take to my blog for a good old rant come out fighting in my child's corner but that is because I know them best.  I would not allow them to be placed in a position that I knew they would possibly not feel comfortable in or be able to cope with.  Are we at risk of singling our children out more by wrapping them up in cotton wool?

Trying to get better

I've been off work for the last two days; I haven't felt "right" for about a year now.  In March 2011 I had some blood tests checking for all the usual stuff - anaemia, kidney function, liver function, cholesterol levels and thyroid activity - but all came back bang on normal.  I've had sleep issues (sometimes due to my husband's snoring but other times just due to the fact that I don't seem to need a lot of sleep) and a night of five hours unbroken sleep is a considered a 'good night' for me.  Nothing much has improved since the blood tests.  I've put on more weight, I've had more days off sick from work in one year than I have in all the previous years put together and I've started with mild migraines.  I feel lethargic. 

Filofax Friday : New Year, New Start

It's the first week of the year and whilst many people are getting their houses back in order after the holiday season I've been getting my Filofax back in order.  In 2011 I had got used to using a Personal sized cover (Chameleon in Spring Green - now discontinued from sale) and loved the soft cover but I've got a bit of a collection of Filofaxes now so had a choice of style and colour for 2012.

Coitus Interruptus


It’s a wonder I ever had any kids. Actually, scratch that. It’s a wonder I ever had more than one child. In the beginning we were at it like the proverbial rabbits so it’s no wonder that I got caught after missing one pill. However, as the night feeds, daytime tiredness and general “If this is what happens when you fuck my brains out then I'll give it a break, thanks” took over, the actual copulation dwindled down to the times when both of us were awake at the same time and there was nothing on the telly.